Abstract 176: Extracellular S100A4 Is a Key Modulator of Arterial Smooth Muscle Cell Phenotypic Transition
Background: It has been proposed that smooth muscle cells (SMCs) from the arterial wall are heterogeneous and that only a subset of medial SMCs are prone to accumulate into the intima leading to atheromatous plaque formation. We isolated 2 distinct SMC phenotypes from porcine coronary artery: spindle-shaped (S) and rhomboid (R). Biological features of R-SMCs (i.e. enhanced proliferative and migratory activities as well as poor level of differentiation) explain their capacity to accumulate into the intima. We identified S100A4 as a marker of R-SMCs in vitro and of intimal SMCs both in pig and human. S100A4 is an intracellular Ca2+ binding protein that can also be secreted; it has extracellular functions probably via the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE).
Objective: Investigate the role of S100A4 in SMC phenotypic change, a process characteristic of atherosclerotic plaque formation.
Methods and results: Transfection of a human S100A4-containing plasmid in S-SMCs (practically devoid of S100A4) led to overexpression of S100A4 in approximately 10% of SMCs, release of S100A4, and a transition towards a R-phenotype of the whole SMC population. Moreover, treatment of S-SMCs with S100A4-rich conditioned medium collected from S100A4-transfected S-SMCs induced a transition towards a R-phenotype, which was associated with increased proliferative and migratory activities as well as downregulation of SMC differentiation markers (i.e. alpha-smooth muscle actin and smooth muscle myosin heavy chains). It yielded activation of NF-kappa B without changing RAGE mRNA baseline level. Blockade of extracellular S100A4 in R-SMCs with S100A4 neutralizing antibody induced a transition from R- to S-phenotype, decreased proliferative activity and upregulated SMC differentiation markers. In contrast, silencing of S100A4 mRNA in R-SMCs and during platelet-derived growth factor-BB-induced S-to-R-phenotypic change did not affect SMC morphology in spite of decreased proliferative activity.
Conclusions: Our results show that extracellular S100A4 modulates SMC phenotypic changes and is essential for the establishment of the R-phenotype. It could be a new target to prevent SMC accumulation during atherosclerosis and restenosis.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.